I got my Oregon driver’s license last week (a comical endeavor which featured me panicking over the realization that I’d have to take the written test, taking the practice test online and flunking it in a fairly spectacular manner, then studying rabidly [go ahead, ask me any motor-vehicle-related-question for the state of Oregon, I’ve committed every single rule to memory and am basically the OR DOT Rainman now] for the goddamned test before showing up to the DMV in a cold sweat and ultimately passing just fine, thank you very much, although I was hugely distracted by the question of “What does this sign mean?” with a picture of a deer crossing sign and a selection of hilariously weird answers, which included “Dim lights because you are about to enter a deer sanctuary,” “Deer crossing ahead,” and “Slow down because you are approaching a deer petting area”) (DEER PETTING AREA) and when my permanent license showed up in the mail yesterday I spent some time regarding the two photos: the younger me on my Washington license, the me-of-last-week on my current license. I’m smiling in the current photo, as opposed to the strange thousand-yard-stare I’m doing in the older photo, but even setting facial expressions aside, I think I look … happier.
I was thinking, too, about how my weight is several pounds heavier on my new license but I distinctly remember fudging the numbers last time. How ridiculous is that, right? I mean, really. But I did, I gave a weight that was maybe eight pounds below my real weight, and my license before that had a weight I hadn’t seen since high school.
This time I didn’t feel the need to fib. Sure, I may have written down my early-morning-naked-on-the-scale weight rather than my shoes-and-clothes-evil-doctor’s-scale weight, but whatever, the point is I didn’t pull a number out of my ass for some pointless vain reason that doesn’t even make SENSE. (Police officer, regarding my bloody, lifeless form crushed from the impact of a rogue semi-trailer: “Well, that’s a darn shame. Says here she was in pretty good shape, too.”)
Anyway, I guess I feel more relaxed about diet stuff and fitness lately. I continue to get in these seemingly endless loops of eating really well and exercising every day, then suddenly losing all motivation and devouring great towering piles of junk from the Fuckit Bucket, but I don’t beat myself quite as much over the cycle. I spend a few days in the trough, then I eventually shake it off and hit the farmer’s market and put on my running shoes, and so it goes. (I’ve found it’s useful to have a variety of clothing sizes for this particular lifestyle, by the way.)
I joined a gym here, and sometimes I go to this class that’s sort of a combo of step and weightlifting, and the room is full of older ladies who crack jokes and bullshit with the instructor, and it’s super low-key and no-pressure and I like it. When the weather’s nice, I ride my bike, or go running, or walk the neighborhood. Sometimes I throw on a DVD and jump around the living room. I don’t spend my entire day thinking about my workout, I just … do stuff, or don’t, and it’s not a huge deal.
I don’t mean to imply I’ve matured beyond feeling hateful towards my belly roll or wobbly upper thighs, mind you. I feel wildly uncomfortable when I put on a few pounds, which is usually what prompts me to stop mainlining Cheetos. But fitness just feels like something I do, now. It’s not something I have to life-coach myself into on a weekly basis. It’s not taking up nearly as much headspace as it used to.
Looking back, I think I may have been a little intolerable about diet and fitness a few years ago. I focused on it a lot, I talked about it a lot, I shared a lot of thoughts that were meaningful to me but probably came off as preachy … or at least boring as fuck. I think it was what I needed at the time — something to help me feel strong and in control when my life was turned upside down by babies and I was stuck at my shitty degrading job — and it was hard for me to understand that the thing that was so beneficial to me wasn’t somehow a magic cure-all for the entire world, too.
It’s more clear to me now that we all go through stages and we all need different things and what’s great for one person at one time may not be great for someone else — or even great for that exact same person a few years later. Duh, right? (Look, I never claimed to be a quick learner.)
At any rate, I’m glad to be in a different place now — in so, SO many ways — than the person in the first photo. I don’t love the new wrinkles I find every day, but I’m glad for being older and maybe even a tiny, tiny bit wiser.